Sticky Chicken


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This is one of those dishes that, somedays, you just gotta have. Sticky Chicken has been around about as long as folks have been cooking. The recipe has evolved and been tweaked over the years but the flavorful sticky marinade that clings to the chicken is still every bit as good as folks remember from the days when Granny used to make it for Sunday dinner.

This recipe for sticky chicken is pretty simple, mix up some ingredients, bring them to a boil, pour them over chicken pieces and bake. It’s a home run with kids as well as adults, too!

You’ll need: Brown sugar (dark or light, whatever you have), garlic powder, ketchup, honey, and soy sauce. 

You’re also going to need about 3-5 pounds of bone in chicken with the skin still on it.

Traditionally, folks use legs and thighs for this but my Kroger had bone in split chicken breasts for buy one get one free – so I have four HUGE Chicken breasts halves that cost me about $2.50 and that is what we’re using! 

Put everything in a sauce pot and stir it up really good. Place over medium high heat. 

You can do medium heat but I like to get things rolling. 

Patience is a virtue and all that but I find that my patience is best used in dealing with people, critters, and my spotty internet connection.

Bring it just to a boil and then remove from heat. 

Place your chicken pieces in a 9×13 baking dish and pour all of the sauce over. 

In my last post, we sang Leslie Gore around about this time. So today, we need to sing Buddy Holly.

Every day, it’s a getting closer! Going faster than a roller coaster! love like yours will surely come my way. hey hey hey hey hey!

This has nothing whatsoever to do with Sticky Chicken so I’m not even gonna try to tie it in.

If staying on point was a requirement of my job, I’da lasted one blog post.

Not good with the whole monotony thing. I gotta sparkle a bit :)

If you tuned in to the Leslie Gore Video in my Fried Dill Pickles Post and now my Buddy Holly video you may be wondering why someone born whenever I was born (sometime in the past 20-50 years or so) is such a huge fan of music from an era I wasn’t actually present in.

Simple: I have exquisite taste in music.

Oh, and also My Mama and Daddy took good care of their records :). My brother, sister, and I spent half of our childhoods rocking out to Leslie Gore, Buddy Holly, and then Elvis. In between we were big fans of Disco Duck just to keep it well rounded.

What music did you listen to growing up?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!


Place this in a 350 degree oven and bake, uncovered, for 90 minutes total.

After 45 minutes…flip all of the chicken over in the dish.

An hour and fifteen minutes into cooking, flip pieces again and baste with some of the sauce in the pan. Bake another fifteen minutes.

NOTE: cooking time is the same if you use legs and thighs.

Booyah! Sticky chicken!

This dish was extremely difficult to photograph because I really just wanted to eat it.

“Click click, ok, photo session is done! Let’s eat!”

I’m serving some green beans with it (recipe coming soon) and simple Mahatma Saffron Rice. Rice goes great with this because the chicken is so flavorful.

It’s almost newsletter time again!

Each Friday I sent my email subscribers a newsletter with links to the week’s most popular recipes, latest recipes, inspiring quotes, Q&A, and more! If you’d like to subscribe by email click here.  No one will ever see your email but me and I typically send anywhere from 2-4 emails a week.


Sticky Chicken
  • 3 -5 pounds bone in chicken with skin (folks usually use legs and/or thighs)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a sauce pot, combine ketchup, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder over medium heat.
  3. Bring it just to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat.
  4. Arrange chicken pieces in 9x13 dish. Pour entire amount of sauce over chicken, turning pieces with tongs to coat.
  5. Place in oven, uncovered, for 90 minutes, turning after 45 minutes.
  6. Fifteen minutes before cooking time is up, flip pieces once more and baste with sauce.

UPDATE: Can I make this with boneless skinless breasts?

I’ve had so many people ask this question that I finally got around to trying it last night. I threw a few boneless skinless chicken breasts in the baking dish with my bone in, skin on pieces. I basted it just like the other pieces and flipped and cooked it the same way. It was good and it can certainly be done but it doesn’t come out like sticky chicken. You’ll have a good tasting chicken breasts, but the sauce doesn’t stick to it or form a glaze on it. You’re pretty much just cooking chicken in the sauce. It is good, but it really isn’t sticky chicken. I would suggest holding out until you have the bone in/skin on pieces :)

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,

but by the seeds you plant.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Submitted by Diane. Submit your quote by clicking here.


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  1. Carol Ziemann says

    How many servings would this be? I am guessing 4, I live with my daughter and son-in-law (his first name is Elvis middle name Presley) and my grandchildren aged 19, 16, 6, and 4. That pan of 4 breasts might be enough for the 16 year old boy, lol. So using legs and thighs should I double or maybe triple the recipe?

  2. Debbie Moore says

    I made this for supper last night. We all loved it. Hubby had re-heats for lunch. Will make it again soon! Thanks again Christy.

    When I make one of our recipes, I feel as if i am sharing a recipe with my backyard neighbor.

    You cook like we like to eat. Good southern style food. No weird stuff here!

    • Pam Williams Angerhofer says

      Sodium-free Soy Sauce

      2 tbsp. Sodium-Free Beef Bouillon
      2 tsp. red wine vinegar
      1 tsp. molasses
      1/8 tsp. ground ginger
      dash of black pepper
      dash of garlic powder
      3/4 cup water

      In a small saucepan, combine and boil gently, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.
      Store in refrigerator. Stir before serving.
      Makes 1/2 cup.

      Recipe comes from a Better Homes and Garden low sodium cookbook.

  3. Sharon Carson says

    Hi Christy! I am praying for you and all your neighbors down south to be safe from the bad weather. I have to tell you that your Sticky Chicken continues to be a hit in my house and now beyond. I made it for a special dinner my husband’s family held for his nephew TJ, who left for basic training in the Air National Guard in early April. It was a hit, and after trying it at TJ’s dinner, a church friend asked for the recipe and made it for a party at her 55+ community clubhouse. She told me that it went over big and she got requests for the recipe. I tell ya, that dang recipe is changing hands pretty fast around here. My extremely picky 12 year old daughter actually agreed to try it (FINALLY!), last night and before I knew it, here she was scooping extra sauce on her piece and she ‘fessed up to just how much she liked it. My friend was the recipient of a copy of your book as a birthday gift from me, and she made Sticky Chicken and sent me a very succinct text that said “Winner, winner, chicken diinner!” Her family loves it too! Stay safe!

  4. Michelle T. in CA says

    I have a big pack of drumsticks that need to be cooked up, so this will be perfect!

    Re: music . . . I grew up listening to lots of music! My fondest music memories come from watching American Bandstand and Soul Train on Saturday mornings. My mom and I always had it on while we did Saturday chores. My parents had a lot of albums too, so all of that music from the 70’s and 80’s was truly a soundtrack to my childhood. Some of my favorites are The Carpenters, John Denver, Dolly Parton, Don Williams, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Van Morrison (especially Brown Eyed Girl, Into the Mystic, and Tupelo Honey), and so many more! I love Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sam Cooke. Did I mention that I love music!? Lol, then there’s Christian music: Kari Jobe, Ellie Holcomb, Christa Wells, Christy Nockels, JJ Heller, Natalie Grant, and I could go on and on, but I think I’m rambling now.

  5. Tonia says

    I am going to try this recipe with chicken legs on Sunday it sounds wonderful. I have both your cookbooks and they are great I love them. I was raised in Georgia so nothing I like better than good southern cooking. Love your blog also.

  6. Kristi says

    Thank you so much for this awesome recipe! We had our chicken with wild rice and fried okra, so yummy.

    I also want to thank you for your fried pickle recipe. You turned this fried pickle hatin’ girl into a fried pickle LOVIN’ girl! I just about burned my mouth off because I couldn’t wait on them to cool before I ate them.

  7. Mary says

    Hi , I am making this tonight for dinner. I did start late this evening but oh my goodness, the kitchen smells wonderful. I can’t wait to dig into it. My side dish is rice along with slice of lettuce/tomato.

    Will post any comments my husband makes…he is my tester for all my recipes.

    From Tucson, Az… loving your website…keep up the good work Christy. You are AMAZING!…


  8. Heather says

    I am so pleased that I found
    I made Sticky Chicken drumsticks for my family last week and they were such a hit that I am making them again tomorrow. Boiling the sauce first is genius because it sticks to the chicken so much better.
    Sending you all Seasons Greetings from The Netherlands

  9. John says

    It Really looks and sounds good Christy. Im ready to try it. I have a couple of questions though. Many times when eating chicken (with the skin) I get disappointed that the delicious flavor i get on the skin isnt in the chicken itself. Do you know what i mean? IF I can take a bite and have the seasoned skin in each bite thats good. But it rarely happens that way. i always want to eat all the skin. LOL Any suggestions how to get the meat to taste like the skin?

    Also speaking of boneless breasts, If I soaked the breasts in the sauce over night or even longer would it soak into the chicken? Thanks 😀

    • says

      Hey! Marinating does help but I wouldn’t recommend boneless breasts with this recipe. You really need that skin because the marinade sticks to that and there is where your flavor is going to be. I know exactly what you mean about the inside not tasting the same as the outside. The outside is made up of tissues that clings to that flavor and develops even more on its own as it cooks and roasts in the juices and the only way to bring that into every single bite is to use more sauce for drizzling and dipping. Fortunately, this dish gives you lots of extra sauce for just that! Another thing you can do is add a bit of salt to the marinade and that will help draw a wee bit more flavor into the chicken itself.

  10. Dawn says

    This sounds wonderful – and easy – so I’m all over it! The recipe for Sticky Chicken we’ve been using for over 35 yrs is: 1 pkg dry onion soup mix, 8 oz. apricot preserves, and 8 oz. bottle Catalina (or any French) Dressing. Mix in a bowl, pour over chicken pieces and bake at 350, basting with sauce, until chicken is browned – @ 1 hr. The sauce is just as good on baked pork chops, also.

  11. Diane B says

    Hi Christy, just to say thanks, the sticky chicken is what I’m making for my stepson Tom’s birthday tomorrow (6/20) – he’ll love it!:) I grew up in NE MS, where my dad’s from, and mama’s from Pickens County, AL so I grew up as a child in the ’60’s and ’70’s listening to Andy Williams, Lawrence Welk, Elvis, the Monkees and Beatles, the Carpenters, disco & pop hits of the ’70’s & ’80’s, and most everything in between. These days it’s mostly country and Christian/gospel, and I’m proud to say I still love to listen to a great Southern gospel quartet every now and then! Thanks also for your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement, God is using you to reach people in a mighty way and in times like these, that’s sorely needed, as I’m sure many would agree. Blessings to you and your family!

  12. Jenn says

    I made this for the kids when my husband and I were planning to snag a date night – big mistake! It was impossible to try just a taste of, so I’m making it again tomorrow! I skipped the honey to reduce the sugar content, and I used half boneless chicken thighs and half breasts. It did end up a bit saucier than in your photos, but the sauce tasted great on the white rice!

    • says

      I buy it. Saffron is one of the main seasonings and it’s also one of the most expensive ones in the world (literally) to purchase so I just buy yellow saffron rice. I’ve actually started buying it at Dollar Tree! I usually keep 20 or 30 bags on hand because I know we’ll use it and there is no sense in making multiple trips.

  13. Jan says

    I did not know that Dollar Tree has yellow saffron rice, Christy. We have a Dollar Tree just around the corner from our house. Can’t wait to try the Sticky Chicken recipe.

    I grew up in the 60s and 70s, so my favorites were The Monkees, The Jackson Five, Petula Clark, The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five, The Carpenters, The Cryin’ Shames, The Temptations….just to name a few. Gosh, those were the good ol’ days!


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